August 11, 2016

Mongolian throat signing, or Tuvan throat singing as it's more traditionally known, is auto-tuning without any fancy equipment.

Throat singing shows how the human voice can hold more than one note at a time. The art, which dates back to the nomadic herdsmen of Central Asia, has been compared to chanting, and is regarded as a formal musical art.

Here's how Tuvan throat singing works: The singers use circular breathing to hit multiple notes for an extended time period. To perfect this circular breathing, many throat singers are trained as children, learning to use the various parts of the throat as reverberation chambers to create notes of different tones.

Traditionally, throat singing was done by the males in Mongolian communities—mostly because of taboos around the act causing infertility in women. More recently, women have been practicing various forms of the musical art.

There are other types of throat singing practiced around the world: The Inuit of Northern Canada, where the women perform most of the throat singing, and the Xhosa people of Bantu, who perform a deeper form of throat singing.

In Mongolia, you can hear the singers high in the mountains all the way across the flat plains. Want to know what it sounds like? Check out the video above featuring throat singer Batzorig Vaanchig.

Erika Owen is the Senior Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen. 

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